• I Am Not an Animal - I'm a Flash Developer

    <img class="alignright size-full wp-image-5098" title="4_adobe-flash-9-logo-1.jpg" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/4_adobe-flash-9-logo-1.jpg.png" alt="4_adobe-flash-9-logo-1.jpg" width="250" height="250" />
    <h3>This is a guest piece by forum user andoneo. Agree, disagree? Tell us why in the forums!</h3>
    Open source they cry! A world wide web free of proprietary formats and buggy plug-ins they say! HTML 5 is here and finally spelling the end for Flash. It sounds like an Apple fan boyís wet dream. A text pad wielding code monkeyís paradise too perhaps? But does the Flash platform need to die in order to achieve online Zenith where we ascend to a magical place where JavaScript libraries and cascading style sheets run wild and free.

    I hope not. I have a soft spot for Flash. Fundamentally because itís one of the most empowering creative tools of the digital age. It was a huge catalyst for content creation in the early days of the web, but flash also played a key role in the emergence of Web 2.0 through YouTube and Flickr technologies. It showed the web could have more than just static text and pictures, things like atmosphere, transitions and graphic style unparalleled in any HTML sites. As a disclaimer, I have a vested interest in Flash. I work with it and I get paid quite well to do so. I havenít got a bachelor in computer science. Iím self-taught for the most part and I owe it all to Flash. It empowered me to great heights.

    The <em>Flash Bashers</em> (as I like to call them), who are typically Apple die-hards and coder elitists, baffle me with their hate. I just feel like saying to them: world with iPad, vs. world without iPad. Which would we prefer? It may not be for you, so donít buy it or use it. But donít tell me I can't or shouldn't be able to. Itís akin to censorship.
    <h3>Empowerment and Intelligent Design</h3>
    Iíve always been a Mac user ever since I was a kid. I've been nurtured by Mac OS to literally <em>Think Different</em>. To conceive and imagine new and wonderful things in the digital space. Platforms like Flash and Dreamweaver have been crucial catalysts in the same way. My career in online design wouldn't exist without them. Flash was a watershed that empowered millions of artists all over the world. Designers, illustrators, animators, people who think visually, in colours and shapes not brackets and colons. A new breed of web sites with engaging animation and interactivity where only made conceivable using this versatile authoring tool. The gradual angle of the learning curve enables new users to create within minutes. Itís so good children can pick it up and run with it, which they do in schools all around the world. My son plays Flash games all the time and loves them. Itís also a very in-depth platform with dedicated application scripting similar to JavaScript, together with an abundance of resources on the web for learners.

    Ask yourself this: What is Apple doing with this new paradigm shift in personal computing? Some would argue they are removing the learning curve all together and bringing the power of computing to the user via a UI that relies on little more than a touch, swipe or pinch. They are streamlining the user experience to be more empowering and intuitive. Thatís the future right? Surely the future of web design is also increasingly more intuitive and empowering enabling more and more users from all walks of life to create content. No the bashers say. Coders only.

    The Flash Bashers would have us believe that true web design is for coders &amp; developers. Their authoring environments are glorified text editors. Maybe theyíre right. I wouldnít call myself a developer. I like to think of myself as a content producer. But why would I want to conjure a circle with a line of code when I can draw it on a screen like a designer would in Illustrator? The GUI got a lot of us where we are today and now we want to go back to a text driven interface?

    How can we say we're moving the UI forward with modern multi-touch devices and yet relegating web design to the dark ages of computing? What the HTML 5 camp needs is an intuitive authoring environment. An empowering and visually pragmatic tool that enables users to create visually. Otherwise what you're left with is a platform with a very high barrier to entry, consisting of not just one scripting language to learn but three, and five or more browsers to debug for. Another beauty of Flash is the consistency across platforms with the exception of mobile of course.

    You want more evidence that Flash is one of the most versatile and empowering tools out there? Nintendo's Wii supports it. As does the PlayStation 3. How about the fact that <a href="http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flashcs5/appsfor_iphone/">Flash CS 5 will produce native iPhone apps</a>? There are some out there that would begrudge Flash developers this privilege. They claim the quality of apps may be compromised. Have they used the App Store lately? Just how many fart apps are on it? Plus Apple is pretty anal when it comes to quality assurance and bug testing.
    <a href="http://www.2Advanced.com">I'd like to see HTML 5 do this</a>. I remember I used to get a hard disk over this kinda thing 10 years ago when I was learning Flash. It offered an incredible insight into the potential of the platform and gave new meaning to the web. Sites like 2advanced.com would clearly translate well to the iPad given the obvious attention to detail and design. This is not possible with HTML 5 yet. Nothing the bashers have put forward argues otherwise.

    Flash also gave us some great laughs over the years. <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fS6udST6lbE">Metallica Napster vids</a><a>, </a><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtCJHyFhB48">Steve Jobs Vs Bill Gates series</a> and anyone remember <a href="http://htf.atom.com/">Happy Tree Friends</a>?

    Would HTML 5 be able to create TV shows like <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Callahan%27s_Quads!">Quads</a> or how about a full length feature <a href="http://www.comedycentral.com/shows/drawn_together/index.jhtml">Drawn Together</a> movie. It definitely wonít give political satirists like <a href="http://sendables.jibjab.com/">jib jab</a> and <a href="http://www.markfiore.com/">Mark Fiore</a> the medium they need to express on a world scale.

    The web is better with Flash. A richer, more inclusive experience. A medium for children and adults, for entertainment, education and commerce. All areas in which Flash has a valuable contribution to make. The <a href="http://www.bioshock2game.com/">Bioshock 2</a> website is another example of the power of Flash, but also a case study on the Internet medium. This site is an example of how flash uses the web almost as a TV to engage an audience on a whole other level. Flash is a very powerful marketing tool. On a similar note Flash is now representing the best solution for monetizing video traffic. In fact, Flash is just hitting it's stride in this area and is set to make a lot of people a lot of money. Apple will enable Flash on the iPad. I believe this so much, that I would put money on it. If the iPad is going to browse the web better than a conventional computer, then it will have to support Flash, otherwise itís simply inferior. How can it not be when it doesn't fully support the Internet? Flash is not dying today or tomorrow. The iPad will blue block fail for a while yet.
    <h3>Politics and Bruised Apples</h3>
    Adobe have really dropped the apple and now itís bruised. For a time there they were getting along swimmingly. Some would even say somewhat co-dependently. As a team they represented the platform of choice for designers and publishers for many years. A base they both built reputations on. But the apple was dropped and Adobe has also bruised a fundamental relationship. They got lazy with their Flash player and were caught napping when Apple switched to Intel. To their determent Adobe underestimated the power Apple was to grasp in the mobile space and now they are paying for it. What Adobe has done right is to plant the seeds of a very diverse and colourful ecosystem of content producers, tools, resources and libraries out there for free (mostly) to anyone who wants to learn. Empowering stuff. Apple take note.

    Apple on the other hand has led the industry on many things. Dropping the floppy drive, USB and the iPhone to name a few. But Apple's handling of Flash isnít leading, it's bordering on predatory. No company should wield this kind of power. Ask yourselves why Apple is doing this. Is it any coincidence that streaming Flash content is at odds with the iTunes store distribution method? Or possibly the transparent and ubiquitous world of Flash development might put the locked down app store under an even larger microscope. Just maybe?

    The Flash Bashers and some coding elitists will tell you how we should all experience the Internet. Iím here to tell you that there is more than one way to experience it. I would argue we are better off with choice. It's empowering.
    <h3 style="font-size: 1.17em;">This is a guest piece by forum user andoneo. Agree, disagree? Tell us why in the forums!</h3>
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